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Software firm invests $2.8 million in Enterprise Zone


City approves first application for tax abatement program

With Vernier Software & Technology’s commitment to a $2.8 million Enterprise Zone investment, the city of Beaverton’s three-month-old property tax abatement program is beginning to bear fruit.

The city has approved Vernier Software & Technology’s application for an estimated $2.8 million Enterprise Zone investment at its location at 13979 S.W. Millikan Way.

Don Mazziotti, the city of Beaverton's Economic and Community Development director.Vernier is the first company the city’s approved for the zone benefits since the state-run Oregon Business Development Commission accepted Beaverton’s Enterprise Zone request in July. Designed to encourage businesses to invest at least $1 million in infrastructure and employment, the designation allows three- to five-year property tax exemptions for new and expanding businesses.

New and existing manufacturing businesses within about 5 square miles in three industrial areas surrounding Central Beaverton are encouraged to apply to the city for property tax-abatement incentives. Retail, financial and construction-oriented businesses are excluded.

A Beaverton presence for more than 30 years, Vernier Software develops science software and instrumentation for kindergarten through 12th grade classrooms and public colleges and universities. The company focuses on interfaces, sensors, software and curriculum designed to enhance science education.

Through the Enterprise Zone-generated investment, Vernier officials plan to expand the existing facility and increase employment by 10 percent over the next five years. David Vernier, the company’s founder and chief executive officer, called the opportunity a timely benefit for his business and the city’s economic base.

“This investment opportunity comes at a perfect time, as our company has been continuously growing over the years and is now surging alongside technological advancements within the software industry,” he said. “We’ve worked closely with the city to develop a solid application that will add quality jobs and help boost our local economy.”

Mayor Dennis Doyle praised the development as lining up with the city’s long-term employment and economic goals.

“In the 2011-2016 Economic Strategy, we identified the importance of having a diversified portfolio to help grow family-wage jobs and improve our economy,” he said. “We couldn’t be more pleased to work with such an upstanding business as Vernier Software and Technology.”

Alma Flores, the city’s economic development manager, said Vernier’s expansion plans ignite a program in Beaverton that’s already provided economic stimulus in neighboring cities including Hillsboro, Portland, Gresham and Troutdale.

“Enterprise zones have been successful for our neighboring cities and have led to job creation,” she said. “We believe Vernier will be the first of many Beaverton-based businesses that will take advantage of our new Enterprise Zone.”

The largest areas of Enterprise Zone eligibility include a vertical swath between Jenkins Road and Tualatin Valley Highway bordered by 153rd Drive and 158th Avenue, a wider chunk bisected by Western Avenue between Highway 217 and Elm Avenue and a lengthy stretch between Fanno Creek and Highway 217, roughly from Southwest Allen Boulevard to Scholls Ferry Road.

The city’s Economic and Community Development Department oversees the Enterprise Zone program and works directly with businesses to apply.

For more information, visit BeavertonOregon.gov/Ezone.

For more information about Vernier, visit Vernier.com.